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Abandoned Car - When Can I Get It?


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#1 Black.Ghost

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 03:17 PM

Theres an old Volvo that looks to be abandoned in a car park not too far from me. Ive noticed it there since before Xmas but the tax ran out May 17 and the tax June. Im guessing its just been left. It will need a bit of work.

I know if I write to DVLA / fill in correct form I can become the registered owner easily enough if unchallenged but whats a reasonable amount of time? Im trying to find the owner via FB, Id like the keys I really dont want to have to change locks and barrel (if I even can, immobiliser to consider etc). I might try and get it home next weekend (friend at work has a trailer). Just need to convince the Missus that a V70 needing work on the drive is a good thing 😂

#2 mab01uk

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:12 PM

You may find it suddenly disappears when the council or car park owners take action and send it for scrap, if council land they would normally put a sticker on the windscreen giving notice of removal and scrapping by a certain date to the owner.

A few years ago I saw an abandoned Minivan on a local industrial estate but by the time I had organised a trailer the council had come along and had it sent for scrap.....


Edited by mab01uk, 11 January 2018 - 07:15 PM.


#3 Homersimpson

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:15 PM

I think you need to be careful as the car isn't legally yours and does belong to someone whether they want it or not, applying for the V5C does not make you the legal owner.



#4 DJS911

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:39 AM

Is it worth starting the ball rolling my taping a note to the windscreen with your intentions/suggestions to the owner and include your contact details?

I don’t know the answer to the following question but in the worst case scenario what would happen if you take the car without having any contact with the owner, spend X months and Y pounds restoring it and then the original owner pitches up and says “I’d like my car back please?”

#5 The Matt

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 07:47 AM

I wouldn't want a car with a totally unknown history, nor without knowing why it had been left where it is.  Maybe it was stolen and dumped, maybe the owner parked up and then wandered off and died, maybe it was used for something dodgy?  Who knows, but I just can't ever see the attraction of claiming an abandoned car.

 

As said above, I don't think I'd be comfortable claiming a car as mine, but then the actual person who left it there getting in touch to say "Yeah, I've been in a coma since May 2017, I'd like my Volvo back please!"



#6 GraemeC

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:01 AM

So your looking for advice s to when is a reasonable amount of time to steal a car?

 

Writing to the DVLA will only get you to being the registered keeper, not owner.  Although if the council suddenly decided to bill someone for storage then that would come to you!


Edited by GraemeC, 12 January 2018 - 12:01 PM.


#7 greenwheels

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:30 AM

I once bought a Mini that had been taken in by the council as an abandoned car. I can't remember how long they had it before I made an offer which was accepted by the council who had assumed ownership. However some months later the previous owner wanted it back and the police called me in to discuss it. I said I had bought the car from the council in good faith and had done some work and spent money on it so I was prepared to fight for it. That was the last I heard about it from the police, the council or the previous owner.

I suggest you have a word with your council before you do anything, it is on their land after all. maybe they can tell you the legal position about abandoned cars. Start first by talking to you local ward member who will pass you on to the relevant council official.



#8 r3k1355

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:16 PM

I think you need to be careful as the car isn't legally yours and does belong to someone whether they want it or not, applying for the V5C does not make you the legal owner.

 

This.

 

You only become the registered keeper.

However the previous name on the logbook was also the registered keeper, anyone challenging ownership would need to provide proof they owned the car, ie a sales receipt or something.



#9 Black.Ghost

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:54 AM

I can't help but think some of the responses would be a little different if it was a Mini we were talking about.

 

I understand the laws surrounding theft, and I would be looking to make sure that I don't break any and become the legal owner of the car. After becoming the registered keeper, you will be able to get previous keeper details and potentially contact them that way. If they wanted the car back, I would happily return it to them. I have a friend at work and could get the car home and back again for petrol money if needed, so losing a few quid max there wouldn't be a problem. I wouldn't spend any money, other than perhaps putting through an MOT before becoming the legal owner, because as has been pointed out the rightful owner could just for it back and I'd have little if any option.

 

Further, if I were unable to find the legal owner, I could report it to the police as lost property, at which point you have a certain amount of time to wait I believe.

 

I would also check that it hasn't been stolen or involved in a crime with the local police and an HPI check.

 

I would also say the current owner has little interest in the car. It has been dumped in  a supermarket car park in town for months, someone even believing up to a year. It has been taxed since May, or MOT'ed, and while I haven't checked I suspect no insurance either. I think the owner might be grateful  it is no longer there problem. There is little difference to leaving an old washing machine at the end of your garden, hoping someone collects it for scrap really.

 

The reason I'm less likely to go for it is I really can't be bothered sourcing a new key or changing all the locks if I can't contact the legal owner (who I am working on locating as well), and the mileage is reportedly pretty high (not too far off 300K). 

 

Thanks for the advice though. It is appreciated.



#10 Ethel

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:02 PM

I don't think, legally, the previous owner ever loses title. It wouldn't be theft if you, or the police etc, haven't deliberately deprived them of the car. Making reasonable efforts to find and ask them covers that. Difficulty proving "intent to permanently deprive" is why we have "taking without consent" as a separate offence - so a good idea to square it with DVSA/police first.

 

One common work around over the title is to have a counterclaim of equal value: "You're only in a position to ask for your car back because I've had it in safe keeping inside my garage. The cost of that safe keeping is at least equal to the value of your abandoned car, so I took the car as payment in your absence." I suppose, at a push, they could pay you in cash and take the car back. You'd be on a weaker footing if you didn't have to deal with the car, better to have the consent of whose land it's on so you can argue you were acting as their agent, paid in knackered Volvo.



#11 Swift_General

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 06:55 PM

If you take the car as your own, without permission, then legally you're on a sticky wicket. If you're saying the car is abandoned, then why not report it to the council? They have powers to recover abandoned vehicles (legally), and dispose of them under certain circumstances. In fact not only can they seize vehicles, the legislation states that they have a 'duty' to. The circumstances where they can dispose of them include where due to its condition it ought to be destroyed and where owner can't be traced or does not respond. Perhaps where such criteria apply the council would accept an offer from you?

#12 mab01uk

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:08 PM

Knowing how councils normally work.......if the computer says 'no' then the car must be scrapped once recovered by them!



#13 Homersimpson

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:00 PM

Just another thing, if you apply for the V5C it will cost you £25, they then fine the previous keeper for not norifyinf the change so they may not be best pleased if you then contact them and ask for the keys.

 

I assume that once you are the registered keeper you will be liable for any fines incurred due to its continued abandonment.

 

I would tell you exactly the same thing if it were a mini or an old volvo, I can see that its a terrible waste and you could do something with it but sadly it unlikely to be feasible.  Out of interest what sort of Volvo is it?



#14 midridge2

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:15 AM

I don't think, legally, the previous owner ever loses title. It wouldn't be theft if you, or the police etc, haven't deliberately deprived them of the car. Making reasonable efforts to find and ask them covers that. Difficulty proving "intent to permanently deprive" is why we have "taking without consent" as a separate offence - so a good idea to square it with DVSA/police first.

 

One common work around over the title is to have a counterclaim of equal value: "You're only in a position to ask for your car back because I've had it in safe keeping inside my garage. The cost of that safe keeping is at least equal to the value of your abandoned car, so I took the car as payment in your absence." I suppose, at a push, they could pay you in cash and take the car back. You'd be on a weaker footing if you didn't have to deal with the car, better to have the consent of whose land it's on so you can argue you were acting as their agent, paid in knackered Volvo.

So I could take a car, any car, lock it up in my garage and a year later tell the owner he owes me storage fees.



#15 Steve220

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 12:05 PM

Sometimes the law in this country is totally backwards.

 

Check with the police if it has been reported stolen, and then let them know of your intention. Request info from DVLA of previous owner with the reasons as to why https://www.gov.uk/r...tion-from-dvla, Apply for V5C with a V62 and then play the waiting game.


Edited by Steve220, 14 January 2018 - 12:06 PM.





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